Earth Day was celebrated with added zeal at Lees-McRae College this year. Approximately 250 Lees-McRae College students and employees gathered together for the College’s second annual Mountain Day of Service on Thursday. Volunteers logged more than 1500 hours of community service at locations across the county for projects including an Elk River cleanup, Habitat for Humanity, the Red Cross and a variety of on-campus and area trail clean-up sites.
Director of Community Outreach Julie Lawson was overwhelmed with the success of the day.
“I am so proud of Lees-McRae College today,” she said. “We joined together and worked hard, and we made a difference. This kind of effort is what makes the College so special.”
The tradition of Mountain Day at Lees-McRae goes back to the school’s founder, the Rev. Edgar Tufts. Each fall, Tufts would surprise the school during chapel by announcing, “it was a good day to climb Beech.” Following the proclamation, the entire school would set off up the mountain. When they reached the end of the five-mile climb, a feast of potatoes and corn and sandwiches would be waiting on the group.
Mountain Day was renewed during the early years of the 21st century, more than 100 years after Tufts founded the school. It became a semi-annual tradition, though the hike was limited to Wildcat Lake via the Hemlock Trail.
Starting last year, the spring mountain day was dedicated to community service, leaving the fall celebration as a day of rest and fun.
For photos of the event, click here.